Written by The Mom
In a Montessori-style home or school, toys are easily accessible and orderly for even the youngest children. While we don’t have a Montessori home, I included a Montessori-style bookshelf in our learning room so that the kids can have easy access to their current favorite things.
Note: this bookshelf is more figurative than literal. For example, things that are not safe for the baby (like the screwdriver) are not kept within his reach, but for the purpose of this post are pictured on the bookshelf.
Although the kids have storage shelves elsewhere in the house, they love the visibility and simplicity of this shelf in their learning room. I try to keep open-ended toys on it- toys that they can play with in an imaginative and creative way.
Another note: some of these are products that I link to. I’m not affiliated with or endorsing them in any way, I’m just linking for your convenience.
Here’s what’s on our bookshelf this week.
1. Planet cards
The kids have been fascinated by what they can comprehend about the solar system right now so we decorated our learning room with planet cut-outs on the wall. Each planet came with a card that tells about it. Since my kids can’t read yet, I left the cards out where they could look at them up close. When they found the cards, they invented their own game of finding the planet on the wall that matched the one on the card. This inspired conversation about each planet, what it was called, the colors, and whatever else the kids wanted to know about it (“Do Grandma and Grandpa live on Saturn?”).
2. A globe
While visiting Grandma and Grandpa a few months ago (not on Saturn… although they are a 6-hour drive away so it may feel like that to the kids) the kids noticed a globe sitting unused on the top of their piano. We took it down and it entertained them for the entirety of our visit. When we left, Grandma and Grandpa gifted it to the kids to use in our learning room. The kids play with it and ask things such as: Which way does the earth spin? Which way is North? Which continent do we live on? Where is our city that we live in? This is how we love to learn… Playing with interesting things and asking questions! The globe has been a hit this week.
3. United States puzzle
Geography is obviously very popular in our house right now. Apparently January 29th was National Puzzle Day and I got this puzzle almost half off on Amazon. It’s a board puzzle but still challenging enough for my kids, who are both puzzle lovers and can easily do a 100-piece puzzle without help. This puzzle has been great fun for pointing out where grandparents live (both sets live in different states), and places we have visited that the kids can remember.
These came from Daddy’s tool box. We were measuring to move furniture around while setting up our learning room and the kids grabbed the measuring tape and have been measuring everything ever since. We have learned lots of things with it. For example, we have learned that the table is two inches long and that my arm is three months long. Everything in our house has apparently been broken lately too, and the screwdriver has been used to fix everything from the couch cushion to toy trucks.
5. A learning clock
Our son, Little F, in particular has enjoyed this Melissa and Doug learning clock that we found at a local learning store recently. It comes with double-sided time cards that the kids can match up.
6. Bristle Blocks
All three of our kids love Bristle Blocks. The big kids love building airplanes and helicopters. The baby likes holding them and looking at the colors.
7. Mega Bloks
Mega Bloks were the first building toys we ever got for our kids and they still get used just as much today as when they were new. Even Baby B will sit and play in a pile of them for 20 minutes or so. The make fun sounds when they knock together and the big ones are a safe size for him to gnaw on.
There are always, always books on our bookshelf. Our kids can’t read yet but they love being read to and they will also sit and look at books independently. It’s a fantastic break for them when they need some quiet alone time.
Other stuff we’ve been up to
What kid doesn’t like making a giant mess with paper, kid-friendly scissors, glue sticks, and stickers? We made a Valentine’s Day craft for Daddy this week (not pictured since he hasn’t received it yet!).
Miss C also made this card for Baby B:
And this one for Mommy:
Helping in the kitchen:
I have to admit I am not the most patient person and I like to get food prep and cooking over with so I can just eat. I’ve had to take a step back and allow the kids to be in this space of exploring and curiosity about food and how it is prepared because I know it will foster independence and healthy eating habits in the long-run.
That’s it for this week’s edition of What’s On Our Bookshelf! My goal is to write a similar post once a week or every other week… I’m looking forward to checking back at older posts as our kids’ interests and skills develop and advance over time.